Sunday, October 30, 2011

Making Money While I Sleep

Oh, how I love making money while I sleep!  You see, while I'm sleeping here on the east coast of the USA, folks in Australia, and other parts of the world, are wide awake and SHOPPING.  This is one of the perks of being on online seller.  It can run on "autopilot" while I sleep, travel, etc.  

Please don't misunderstand.  This business requires work.  Lots of it.  There's shopping for inventory, research, cleaning/preparing inventory for sale, photographing and editing, writing descriptions, pricing and creating the listing... and then, shipping.  All of that, and more, goes into EACH item that I sell. 

This morning, I woke up to this nice sale to a customer in Australia.  Birkenstocks!   

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Check Your Kids' Closets! You Might Just Find Some Cash In There...

... in the form of old board games.  There are many board games that are no longer being made but still have a big following.  Many have older versions that are still quite popular.  Also, people who have those older games are often looking to replace lost or broken game pieces.  This is one more area you can make some nice profit in on eBay.  They are readily available in thrift stores, attics and kids' closets.

One of my best sellers in the board game category is the RISK board game.   My best RISK sale was a Lord of the Rings edition that sold for $74.99.  If I remember correctly, I purchased it at a local thrift store for somewhere around $2.00.  There are MANY different editions and versions of the RISK game and you will need to know which one you have in order to accurately describe and list it for sale.  Here is a great resource for researching the different ones:  Once you know for sure which one you have, make sure that all of the original pieces are included.  If you aren't sure if all the parts are there, you can often find the list of parts on the inside of the box.  If there are pieces missing, you have two options.  If there are only a few missing pieces, you can always purchase them on eBay to make a complete game.  OR, you can "part it out" and sell the pieces as replacements for those looking to complete THEIR game.  Here is the link to all of my current RISK games and parts:    

RISK is not the only board game that you can turn for profit.  I am always on the lookout for obscure and fantasy board games, like the one I sold yesterday called Cosmic Encounter.  It sold for $31 and I paid $1 for it.  It was a complete game in excellent condition.  I always get quite excited when I find old board games in excellent condition for cheap!

Duel of Ages is another one that brought me a nice profit, selling for $75.99 after I paid $1 for it.  This is a strategy game that is no longer being made.  Apparently, it has a cult-like following around the world, since mine sold to a buyer in Australia.  

A 3-D board game called HOTELS was probably my best-selling game of all time.  Once again, I found it for a mere $2 or so and sold it for $129.99 to a New York buyer.  
Another obscure board game that I had great success with is called Broadsides and Boarding Parties.  This one went for $98.50 and sold within days of listing it.  This game is described as a suspenseful sea duel between a pirate ship and the Spanish galleon.  The setting is the 17th century in the Caribbean Sea.  How cool is that?    
One of my newest items is the Jumanji board game (remember the movie?).  I paid $1 for it and have had it listed for a few weeks.  I'll keep tweaking my asking price and it will eventually sell.        So... as you can see, obscure, fantasy and strategy board games are a great find that you should always consider picking up whenever you can find them.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Microwave Glass Turntables

So, you broke that nice glass turntable in your microwave.  What to do?  Go to eBay!  That's what LOTS of people are doing and it's meant some pretty nice profits for me.  I rarely leave a thrift store without at least one microwave glass turntable for around $1.  Sometimes, I get "lucky" and they'll be accompanied by some indication of the exact make/model microwave they came out of.  Most of the time, they do NOT.

The listing to the right is one that I sold just minutes before writing today's blog.  I actually found it at the Goodwill Clearance Store (aka "the bins"), where you have to dig through big blue bins where they've thrown all kinds of STUFF.  But, there are treasures in those bins!  This particular one came out of a beat up Sunbeam microwave and the turntable was still enclosed in the original Styrofoam packing with the user's manual included.  I removed it from the oven (you're allowed to!) and paid $1.19/lb for it.  It probably cost me a couple of dollars.  Listing it was super easy!  After I took the photos, I measured the diameter of the turntable, the outside diameter of the track on back and included that info. along with the make/model. 

When, as is usually the case, all I have is the turntable and a measuring tape, here's what I do.  Measure the diameter of the turntable and the outside diameter of that track on the back.  Indicate any letters/numbers that are stamped in the glass.  SOMETIMES, you can do a little research with the information you have and find out what make/model it fits... but, not often.  Below is a turntable that I recently sold.  You can see that I could not indicate the exact microwave(s) that it fit, but it sold, anyway!  It included the support with wheels (the wheels that fit into the track on back).

I have been taking my turntable photos on a white background, but I plan to start using a black background because I think it will show all the details much clearer.  Good, clear photos are very important to the success of any eBay business!

These turntables are VERY costly if purchased new from the manufacturer.  And, quite often, the needed turntable is out of production, so they CAN'T be purchased new.  As far as shipping goes, you have a couple of options.  You can take a larger box and cut it down to make sort of a "pizza box" to ship it in.  Here's my friend, Jessie's, pattern for doing so:  Make a Pizza Box!

Or, you can purchase some 16" X 16" boxes from eBay, which is what I eventually did.  Make sure you wrap the turntables in bubble wrap and pack them in packing peanuts to prevent any breakage during shipping.  The US Post Office is quite rough with packages! 

That's pretty much it!  So, never pass up a ROUND microwave glass turntable for resale.  Leave the square ones... they don't sell.  Here are the ones I currently have listed:  Microwave Glass Turntables

I'd love it if you'd share with me some of your success stories with the turntables! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

I love me some cake and I generally don't care what shape it's in, as long as it tastes good.  But, there are many folks who are pretty particular about the form their cake takes on and that's where these fabulous Wilton cake pans come into play.  Did you know that Wilton will discontinue production on certain pans after a period of time?  That is not fun for the retail shopper who is looking for that 1979 Donald Duck Wilton Cake Pan, because it was long ago discontinued.  But, that situation can turn into some positive cash flow for the trained eye of the eBay seller!  I bought that pan for $1 at a local Goodwill store.  I did a little research and found that it is no longer being made and checked completed listings of that same pan on eBay and now I wait for the right buyer to come along.

Sure, there are some pans that are more in demand than others, but I don't pass up any of them.  I bring them home and give them a good cleaning and then check the item number that is stamped on the pan.  In Donald Duck's case, that pan is Wilton #502-7245.  I first check the Wilton website for information on that pan by plugging in that item number in the search box on the site.  Because the Donald pan is so old, it was not listed there.  So, another site I check for information is Slice of Heaven, where I was able to find the baking and decorating instructions for free.  Whenever the pans I sell do not have the baking/decorating instructions with them, I always email the buyer a copy of them in either a link or an attachment to an email.  This is a big selling point, as most people don't know where to find the baking/decorating instructions.

Most of the Wilton pans are pretty lightweight and can be shipped pretty inexpensively via First Class Mail, if wrapped in bubble wrap and a lightweight PolyMailer, or in a Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box.   There is a very nice return on investment with Wilton Cake Pans.  But, you just have to be patient and wait for the right seller to come along.  Here are all of my currently listed pans:  Wilton Cake Pans

Maybe, you'll be inspired to check your local thrift stores for any Wilton Cake Pans.  Or, maybe, you've been inspired to buy one of MINE and bake yourself a cake!  :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer is Over

Yep, I said it.  Summer is over.  The kids go back to school TOMORROW.  I have enjoyed this summer but it just flew by so quickly.  My business has suffered, thanks to summer.  Sales have been slow, but steady.  But, watch out, local thrift stores... I'll be back this week! 

My oldest son has taken the fall semester off at college and moved away (today) temporarily for an internship in his field of study, Mechanical Engineering.  I'm pretty excited for him, but I'll be so glad when he comes home.  He'll be making pretty good money for a 20 year old, too.  I hope he saves most of his earnings!

I'll have two in high school this year (9th and 11th), one in middle school (7th) and one in elementary school (5th).  My mornings and afternoons are spent sitting in car lines at three different schools.  Somewhere in between, I hope to find time to tackle some housework, some thrifting, some listing and (hopefully) lots of shipping.  Unfortunately, we thought we were Congress this summer and spent more money than we could afford to spend.  Argggg...

So, stay tuned!  I plan to be back very soon with more tales from my adventures in thrifting.  Here's hoping for lots of great sales for us all.   'Till next time!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So, You Think it Won't Sell?

I've picked up items at thrift stores only to have my husband ask, "That will sell?"  Yep!  I've been at this for a long time, but I am still amazed at what some people will buy.  A fellow eBay-er just sold this  "Dead Cat."  Who knew there was actually someone out there looking for just the right dead cat to bring into their home?

Just a few days ago, I sold THREE small bags of Coconut M&M's to three different people, all from the same city in Canada.  Of course, I was quite curious as to what brought on the sudden urge to have Coconut M&M's by three residents of Edmonton, but then I received a note from the one who felt it necessary to pay $13 to have me ship this $1.75 bag of candy via Priority Mail.  She asked me to be sure to ship quickly because the M&M's were for a scavenger hunt!  So, I guess she's gonna win since she paid extra to get them sooner than the other two.  And, I'm sure the other two thought that surely no one else thought to find them on eBay.  Boy, do THEY have a surprise coming!  I sure hope the grand prize is something good.

I'm not sure who pays $100+ for a pair of ugly (but extremely comfy) Birkenstock sandals, but they eventually get tired of them and donate to local thrift stores.  Ah HA!  That's where I come in, swoop 'em up and resell in my eBay Store!   I've lost track of how many pair I've sold, but they DO sell!  This is the latest pair I've sold.

I'd better get back to it... just sold a Build-a-Bear with Karate Outfit Blue Belt and I need to ship him off to his new home in Florida.

Want to learn more about selling on eBay?  Come join us on eBay Underground.  It's FREE and we have a blast!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oh, you don't WORK...

Nope.  The toilets around here clean themselves, the kids just appear at school every morning and the groceries just find their way into the pantry, fridge and freezer all by themselves.  And, my eBay store inventory just pops into my office, lists itself, sells itself and ships itself to addresses worldwide.

Of course, I'm being sarcastic.  That's just another service I offer!  Yes, I work.  I have a job.  Actually, I have MANY jobs.  But, only one of them pays money.  Yes, I sell on eBay,, Addoway and Bonanza.  I shop at local thrift stores, garage & yard sales and other such places to find my inventory.  It's great fun and my new desktop computer I bought from Dell makes it so much more enjoyable.

I bring home my finds, clean them up, research them, set up my photo background, photograph them with my Canon Digital Rebel XTi camera, edit the photos with Picasa or Photoscape, upload the photos to Seller Sourcebook, weigh each item, write my descriptions and post them to eBay.  While I thoroughly enjoy it, it IS WORK.  Daily sales are my reward!  That's when I am paid for my hard work.  I receive payments instantly via Paypal, package each item in free Priority Mail boxes provided by the United States Postal Service (or recycle boxes to use for first Class or Parcel Post), weigh the packages and print postage with Endicia.   Then, off to the post office I go!  Of course, it isn't absolutely necessary to go to the post office.  I can request a carrier pickup if I want. 

This all happens in between laundry, dishes, dinner, cleaning toilets, vacuuming, taking kids to school and other activities and such.    And, when January comes around, Turbo Tax becomes one of my best friends.  No need to pay an accountant!  Then, to celebrate a great sale, I can buy a DEEPLY discounted restaurant gift certificate on and enjoy a cheap meal. 

Now, if you are interested in learning to sell on eBay, come join myself and my "co-workers" in eBay Underground.  It's a great group and, best of all, it's FREE!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's 5 o'clock Somewhere

...and, it's hot, cold, rainy and snowy somewhere, as well!  As an eBay seller, I have to be aware of this at all times.  Because I make my merchandise available worldwide, I have to be mindful that just because it may be 100 degrees where I live, it's snowy and below freezing, somewhere.  And, the folks who live there are going to need snow boots and gloves, heavy winter coats, etc.  There are also people who may be traveling TO a climate unlike that of their hometown and they are unable to find appropriate clothing in their local stores.  That's where I and my fellow eBay sellers come to their rescue! 

Also, just because it isn't Christmas season does not mean I store away my Christmas themed items until November.  I keep all seasonal items (Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc.) in my store year round.  There are lots of folks who like to start shopping for holiday items in advance.  Just this week, I sold a Halloween wig to a customer in Australia.  If you have a "medium" level eBay store, you're paying 5¢ per month to keep your items listed.  That's just 60¢ a year... a small price to pay for year round exposure of your product.